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How Confidence Can Be Worked From The Outside In

How Confidence Can Be Worked From The Outside In

We have all been scared to death for our job interviews, anxious to meet someone, or afraid to be in a new environment. You may say you have seen people who seem so confident when they walk in the room, but the truth is that even the most confident person on earth has struggles in these situations.

What sets this bunch apart from the crowd is that they know the key to being confident. So, how do we boost and build up our confidence? Fake it ’til you make it.

The key to confidence is to be able to act like you are confident even when you are not. How you present yourself is crucial.

The way you dress affects your psychological state.

How you dress is a basic rule that we follow when we go to different occasions. Others usually gravitate towards the person who “dresses the part”, and contribute positive attributes to that person. For example, a person who wears glasses[1] and dress up formally is perceived as smarter than one who dresses very casually in an interview. At the same time, what we wear affects how we see ourselves.

Researchers have coined the term “enclothed cognition”,[2] meaning that what you wear affects your physical and psychological state. The clothes you put on can either make or break your self-confidence level.

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The researchers conducted a test on the effects of wearing a lab coat.

A pretest found that a lab coat is generally associated with attentiveness and carefulness. We therefore predicted that wearing a lab coat would increase performance on attention-related tasks.

Because of the symbolic meaning and physical experience of wearing the lab clothe, physically wearing a lab coat increased selective attention compared to not wearing a lab coat. Wearing a lab coat, which is also called a doctor’s coat, increased sustained attention compared to wearing a lab coat described as a painter’s coat.

Your posture very much represents your mental status.

How do you sit? What posture are you in right now? When a model walks down the runway, if they walk with a straight spine, they will be more confident comparing to those who slouch. Your posture is very important to show that you have confidence.

A study shows that having good posture affects a person’s testosterone and cortisol.[3] Testosterone is the dominance hormone, and cortisol is the stress hormone. A person with a powerful posture has an increased testosterone level, and a decreased cortisol level, meaning high self-confidence and low stress.

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On the other hand, a person who slouches or has a bad posture is more likely to have a decrease in testosterone and an increase in cortisol.

Next time you are waiting for an interview, don’t hunch and crunch up your shoulders. Go to the bathroom and stretch out, the very small acts will probably make a great difference.

The way you act changes how others see you and also how you see yourself.

In relation to posture, a person’s body language also has a major impact on self-confidence. Social psychologist Amy Cuddy has previously done a study on body language and confidence.[4] She concluded that people who take a wider, more spread out movement tend to be more confident.

Strong body language and taking up more space contribute to a more dominant and confident image. At the same time, because of displaying powerful poses, one’s stress level is reduced, which in turn boosts a person’s confidence.

Start with small changes for great confidence.

It’s simple, the principle of letting others believe that you are confident is to dress, look, and act the part to build self-confidence.

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Stand up straight but relaxed

  1. Stand with your feet as wide as your hips
  2. Pull up your head to make yourself as tall as possible
  3. Then relax your shoulders and your neck

Sit up straight but not rigid

When you sit up straight, you will feel quite tall when sitting at a table. Keep your back straight, but relax as much as possible.

Position your feet at about hip width apart

Putting your feet closer together generally signifies insecurity, and a wider stance indicates confidence.

Smile like you are happy to be there

Smile like you really like what you are seeing. A single smile is so powerful that it can often turn a low self-esteem and negative person positive.[5]

Don’t lean on or against objects

Leaning on or against an object signifies passivity and insecurity. Try to remain a good posture all the times.

Dress up with what makes you comfortable in different occasions

Consider your body shape and style, find something that makes you confident and comfortable. You can check out the essential tips to dress with confidence: 6 Essential Ways To Start Dressing With Confidence

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Make sure your body language is strong when you speak next time.

It will make you feel more confident and comfortable to speak your mind!

You might still wonder if you are naturally unsure or insecure, it might be a treacherous journey to boost your self-confidence. But don’t worry and just take your time. Don’t be afraid to invest more time and effort in fashion, don’t hesitate to pull your shoulders back, and don’t wait to take a powerful body position. Start small, finish big.

Featured photo credit: Ron Sachs—Picture Alliance/DPA/AP via timedotcom.files.wordpress.com

Reference

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Frank Yung

Writer. Storyteller. Foodie.

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Published on April 16, 2019

How Self Care Can Help You Live Your Best Life

How Self Care Can Help You Live Your Best Life

When was the last time you did something for yourself?

Whether it was deciding to treat yourself with a little something or travel for some R&R, how often do you practice self-care?

Well, as good as above sounds, there’s a common misconception that many of us have about self-care: that it’s only about indulgence and enjoyment.

However, self-care goes far beyond indulgence. It’s actually about respecting your mind and body, understanding its limits, and being able to take care of every part of yourself, in a holistic way.

And, you really don’t have to go to extreme measures or do anything specific–like meditating or following a plant based diet–in order to practice self-care. You just have to make sure that what you’re doing is in your best interests.

So how can you make that happen?

Below are a few proven methods that will help you become a better version of you. Follow through with these regularly and you’ll be well on your way to living your very best life.

Listen to Yourself

The bulk of self-care is knowing yourself.

This means knowing your body’s limitations, and being in tune with your feelings, emotions and thoughts. So it’s important, then, to know who you are and what you want to do in life, in order to truly say that you know yourself. 

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What is your purpose?

Have you ever thought about this question?

Your purpose doesn’t have to remain the same throughout your life. What you found a purpose in at age 19 would likely be different at age 49.

In your current situation, think about the different roles that you have – as a working professional, a spouse, a partner, a parent, etc.

Do you feel like you are fulfilling your purpose through any of these roles?

All you have to do is ensure that what you’re chasing is meaningful to you; this will bring focus and motivation as you strive to achieve your goals.

If you have your purpose defined, then that’s awesome! You know what drives you and why.

But, if you don’t feel like you have a purpose nailed down, it’s good to start by asking why.

For example, why are you working in your particular job or industry? If the reason is vague or unclear, then your motivational energy will be the same. In which case, you may find yourself not having a direction for where you’re headed in life.

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If you’d like to learn more about finding your purpose, then I recommend you check out this article:

How to Get Motivated and Be Happy Every Day When You Wake Up

Seek Out Continuous Education

Now, this may seem less common when you think of self-care, but lifelong learning is incredibly useful and an important component of taking care of yourself.

It’s Super Practical

Lifelong learning is extremely practical these days and does not require as much effort as it may have in the past. Long gone are the days when you could only find information on something by visiting a library. In this day of the internet, anything you can imagine is at your fingertips.

You don’t need to physically go to a learning institution to learn. You can watch Youtube videos to learn new skills, take online courses to earn a degree, and scroll through an endless amount of articles, books and journals from reputable news and informative sites.

When you’re constantly pushing yourself to learn and take up new things, your mental health also improves. Research shows that an active and engaged mind is responsible for diminishing age-related memory loss and improves overall cognitive abilities.

Your Confidence Will Skyrocket

You’ll also have improved self worth as it teaches you to step outside of your comfort zone, which will undoubtedly improve your confidence.

You’ll also connect better with others by expanding your knowledge base. Learning exposes you to a multitude of new ideas and perspectives that you may have otherwise never considered. This also increases your adaptability. Whether it’s at work or just wanting to adapt to society, your peers, and loved ones, life long learning prepares you to take on new challenges.

You’ll Be More Desired in the Job Market

Another obvious reason for continuous education, is that your employability will also increase.

With the ever changing economy, and huge influences from technology, social media, science etc., job descriptions today are moving targets. Assignments and roles change so quickly in response to changing business demands, it becomes a Herculean task to keep a job description database current.

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In years past, stability was a characteristic of the world of work. Procedures, information, jobs, and organizations were established and provided continuity. Education was completed in the first 14 to 22 years of one’s life, followed by a long career occasionally punctuated by short-term job training.

Today, however, jobs, companies, and technology are disappearing and being created simultaneously. To remain current and maintain a competitive advantage in the human capital marketplace, an individual is challenged to continually learn.

People return to school at every age to enrich their skills and knowledge for their current positions. Some even prepare themselves for new jobs or career changes, moving them forward into new opportunities and technology.

We can be assured that we will be challenged to continue to learn new tasks and information throughout our lives. Successful careers belong to flexible, curious learners who are prepared for opportunities because they know themselves and where they make their best contribution. As Peter Drucker, the father of modern management stated,

“Knowledge is choice.”

Lifelong learning also increases social awareness and perspective. To genuinely understand and empathize with others, increase social awareness, and foster strong interpersonal relationships, it’s important to seek out new perspectives. Enhancing the skills that positively impact emotional intelligence can bring even greater happiness and success, both personally and at work; and, this is all part of self-care.

Improve Your Habits (Both at Work and at Home)

Now, the last piece of advice I want to introduce to your self-care regimen, is to improve your habits.

Habits define who you are, and are built up over time. You are what you eat is a great example of this. If you make it a habit to eat foods that nourish your body, rather than make your body feel bad, then you will be much healthier overall.

Good Habits Allow You to Reach Your Goals

Since habits dictate your days and nights, such as waking up every morning to get to work before a certain time, or brushing your teeth before bedtime every night, they play a major role in whether we do or do not reach our goals.

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When you form habits that allow you to progress towards your goals, you’re automatically living a purposeful day, everyday.

Habits Make Your Time a Priority

How do you spend your free time? Do you opt to lounge on the couch watching Netflix passively, or do you engage in activities that support your purpose in life?

It’s natural to waste a lot of time during the day, but fostering good habits will make you set a pattern for how you spend your time and give you the choice of what you choose to spend your time on. By improving your habits, you’ll find that you can be a LOT more productive. When you create good habits, you become more efficient with your time and a lot less is wasted.

This in essence creates an overall positive influence on your life, allowing you to treat your mind and body well, which is why improving your habits are so important to self-care.

Your Well Being Comes First

We live in such a fast-paced society, where we are often so caught up in our work, families, maintaining our social lives, our studies and everything in between. It’s an understatement to say that life can get a little overwhelming at times.

If you’ve ever watched the safety video onboard a plane, you’ll know that they always ask for a parent or adult to put on the safety mask first, before tending to the child. This may sound selfish, but the fact is that if you truly want to ensure the child’s safety, then your safety needs to come first so that you can protect and care for the child without complications from your end.

The same goes for self-care. We need to ensure that our well being is priority, so that we can be the best for the people around us.

Listening to yourself, practicing lifelong learning and improving your habits are steps that you can take to ensure you’re constantly in the best state of mind, alongside the indulgence and rest that you reward yourself with.

Featured photo credit: Photo by Raychan on Unsplash via unsplash.com

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